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The residents of Woodbury are still picking up the pieces after the Governor's betrayal, and Lilly Caul is their defacto leader. They go on a dangerous rescue mission to save some survivors trapped in a church, and bring them back to Woodbury. Their leader, a preacher named Jeremiah, is charismatic and charming. Everyone likes him except for Bob, who takes it upon himself to do some detective work and discovers Jeremiah is planning to murder the whole town Jerry Jones style. The residents manage for the most part to survive, but not before Jeremiah and his crazy crew blow up the wall, and the walkers take over Woodbury. Now they'll have to find somewhere else to go...


"I'm With the Band" by Pamela Des Barres is the story of a young girl in the heyday of rock n' roll. Pamela was the ultimate groupie who got in to see every big band and slept with most everyone she could, from Jimmy Page to Mick Jagger and on and on. It sounds like she had more fun than any one person should be allowed to, but hey, good on her. It was an interesting look at how it used to be. She got to be onstage with some of the hugest bands in the world, very lucky girl. And she lived to tell about it, even luckier.

Raylan

I've never actually seen the TV show "Justified", although it looks pretty good, I'm sure I'll end up watching it eventually. I read "Raylan" by Elmore Leonard, and I really enjoyed the character of Raylan Givens, a U.S. Marshal who seems to always get his man, or in the case of this book, woman. It started out with a disgruntled transplant nurse taking kidneys from unsuspecting victims and ended with a poker playing college girl named Jackie Nevada. It was fun and a quick read.

Horrorstor

"Horrorstor" by Grady Hendrix was a fun sort of horror book. Set in an IKEA type furniture store called Orsk, employees are noticing that merchandise is getting damaged in the night, the morning crew is finding things ruined. Manager Basil asks Amy and Ruth Anne to work with him overnight to see if they can catch the culprit. While Ruth Anne and Basil buy into the store's retail culture, Amy just wants out, hating the job, but since she needs the money she agrees to stay. It turns out the store was built on the grounds of a prison that was flooded a century before, and none of the inmates bodies were ever found. It was rumored that the inmates were tortured by the warden, and sure enough, once the store goes dark the Warden comes out to collect his latest penitents. It was pretty cheesy but I liked the setting.

I really liked "Rhett Butler's People" by Donald McCaig, so I had high hopes for this additional sequel to GWTW, "Ruth's Journey". It was the story of Mammy, named Ruth by McCaig. She was a child in Haiti, rescued by Solange Fornier, Ellen O'Hara's mother and brought to Savannah. Ruth is Solange's faithful companion through three husbands and as many children. I don't know, it didn't do much for me.





Continuing on the GWTW theme, "The Scarlett Letters" by John Wiley Jr. is a collection of Margaret Mitchell's correspondence, particularly in the years following the publication of GWTW, after she sold the movie rights. No wonder the woman never had time to write another book, all she did was spend all her time answering letters from rabid fans who thought she was personally in charge of the movie. Good grief, I felt sorry for her. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, though. Mitchell had a fun sense of humor that shines through in her letters, and seemed like a very classy lady. It's too bad she died so young and so tragically.


We all know I love football, and I love Sunday Night Football. Al Michaels always seemed like a cool guy and a good announcer. He's spent his whole life in sportscasting, so he had a lot of fun stories about how it's changed over the years.







Finally, the last PLL book. Supposedly. I've heard this before. Sara Shepard wraps up her series in a rather predictable happy ending. The girls are on trial for the murder of Ali, despite there being no dead body. Emily fakes her own death and heads to Florida, finds Ali alive and well and gets the authorities to bring her back to Pennsylvania, where Aria, Hanna, and Spencer have been found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison. Now that Ali is alive they are released and free to go on with their happy lives: Hanna has married Mike and they're living the good life in New York, Hanna in fashion design school. Aria is making money hand over fist as an artist, Spencer is taking a gap year before going to Princeton, working at a pro bono law firm, and Emily is relaxing in California, learning to surf. Happy endings for everyone but Ali!

And finally, Mike Pitts' interesting look at the dig for King Richard III, how it came about and the amazing luck and circumstances that made finding the king's body possible. It was fascinating and I'm so excited that he's been found. I'm planning to visit England so I can pay my  respects in person one day soon, hopefully. I must admit, hearing how brutally he met his end made me cry a bit. Such a terrible end for a noble man who has been much maligned in death. RIP, King Richard.

Sue Ann Jafarian's second Odelia Grey mystery, "Curse of the Holy Pail", was pretty good. An old client of Odelia's law firm, Sterling Price, has recently acquired a much sought after collectible item: a one of a kind lunchbox worth big bucks. Sterling is murdered and the lunchbox goes missing. Was it the gold digging ex-fiancee who was having an affair with Sterling's son Kyle? Was it Karla, Sterling's power hungry daughter, who was eager to take over her dad's company? Or was it Willie Proctor, the lunchbox's last owner, who faked his own death in order to escape the curse of the lunchbox? Odelia's got a lot of suspects to choose from in this one, and it was a lot of fun.


I have a weak spot for V.C. Andrews. I know, it's not her writing anymore, and it hasn't been for about 30 years, but I still read them, especially something like this, which is about the original first series. "Christopher's Diary: Secrets of Foxworth Hall" takes us back to Virginia. Kristin Masterworth, a distant cousin of the Foxworths, finds a diary on the site of Foxworth Hall, which is being torn down and rebuilt for a new investor. Kristin starts reading Christopher Dolllanganger's diary, one of the kids who was originally locked in the attic for almost four years. The diary has a strange pull on Kristin, and she finds herself neglecting the world around her to keep reading Christopher's story. It was cheesy as hell, but how can I pass up an opportunity to hear about the attic from Christopher's point of view?

Bill Willingham continues his Fables in Volume 20: Camelot. Rose Red is building a new Round Table and calls upon brave fables scattered all over the world to join her. Meanwhile, Snow White is still trying to get Bigby back. All the shattered glass has been reassembled, but there's one piece missing, and it's been hidden by Nurse Spratt. But why? Honestly, I don't even care anymore, but it's like hell, I've followed this series this long, I have to keep going.






I've always like Neil Patrick Harris. I mean, come on, who didn't love Doogie Howser? And I really liked him in HIMYM. Although I did recently watch "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle" and started questioning life. Good grief, that movie was dumb, but NPH was pretty funny in it. At any rate, "Choose Your Own Autobiography" was a fun way to tell his story, in that old "Choose Your Own Adventure" book format, and who didn't love those books as a kid? I know I did. He actually led a fairly normal life, all things considered, he's just been incredibly lucky, hardworking, and talented. Good for him.

We're going back aways here, I've been busy, so this Charlaine Harris reread was actually from mid-October. Sookie is caught in the middle when shifters and Weres are being shot. Someone tries to burn down her house, but Claudine gets her out in time. Sam is shot but he's okay. Calvin Norris is shot but he's less okay. Captain Flood dies and the Long Tooth pack needs a new master. Sookie goes to the trials and meets Quinn, a were-tiger. She discovers the new cook at Merlotte's is the shooter.




"I Love You More" by Jennifer Murphy was pretty good, I enjoyed it, even if I did figure out the ending before the end. Diana Lane's life is shattered when she learns her husband, Oliver, has two other wives and other families. The three Mrs. Lanes get together to discuss revenge and they decide to murder their husband. Little did they know Diana's daughter Picasso has heard them making their plans.





I really liked "Amy and Roger's Epic Detour" by Morgan Matson. I love road trips, and so a book about a road trip, done well like this one, is a fun read. Amy's life was ruined a few months earlier when her father was killed in a car accident. Her twin brother is in rehab for his drug abuse, and Amy's mom has decided to move the family from California to Connecticut for a fresh start. Amy stays by herself to finish out the school year and then her mother decides to have the son of an old family friend, Roger, drive Amy across country to deliver the car, since Amy no longer drives. So what happens when you put two attractive teenagers alone together in a car to drive across country? C'mon, mom, buy a clue, right? Anyway, Amy and Roger decide not to follow her mom's itinerary and instead they venture out on their own.

"Those Who Wish Me Dead" by Michael Kortya was also really good. Young Jace witnesses two men killing cops who are witnesses in an important case and now the killers are after him. Jace ends up  with a new name, Connor, and goes to Montana to a wilderness survival training camp for troubled teenage boys. The instructor, Ethan, has sworn to hide and protect the boy, although he doesn't know which of his young charges is the witness. The killers are able to track Jace to Montana and attack Ethan's wife. When Ethan hears about the attack, he brings the boys down out of the mountain but Jace is scared and runs off to hide in the woods. It was very powerful.


Dr. Brennan is back in Kathy Reichs' latest, "Bones Never Lie". Brennan has to go find Detective Andrew Ryan in his self imposed exile after the death of his daughter when one of their old child killer perps resurfaces. Brennan finds Ryan and brings him back. Dead girls are turning up with Anique Pomerleau's DNA on them, but when they find Pomerleau's body in a farm up in Vermont, they start looking for her accomplice. It was very good, taunt, and in the end Ryan proposes to Brennan! Huzzah!!




I wasn't a big fan of Rufi Thorpe's "The Girls from Corona del Mar". Other than the neat references to Newport Beach, there wasn't much else to like. Mia and Lorrie Ann are two poor girls growing up in CdM in the 90s. Mia is the bad girl who gets in trouble, Lorrie Ann is the good girl with bad luck. Mia gets pregnant and has an abortion, Lorrie Ann gets pregnant and marries the father and her kid ends up with severe cerebral palsy. Her husband joins the Army so they can pay the hospital bills and is killed in Iraq. Mia goes to college, travels the world, meets a wonderful man. Lorrie Ann gets addicted to drugs and has her son taken away from her for neglect. Mia keeps trying to help her, but Lorrie Ann keeps refusing. It was just tepid, I didn't feel anything for Mia or Lorrie Ann.

Sara Shepard is back with a new series. "The Perfectionists" is about a group of overachieving high schoolers in Washington. When five girls get together in film studies class and decide to get revenge on Nolan, a bully who has hurt all of them, things go very wrong. Nolan ends up dead at his own party from what looks like an Oxy overdose but turns out to be cyanide poisoning. The girls slipped him the Oxy but didn't kill him, however, someone saw them do it and is now helping the cops build a case against them. So far I'm not terribly impressed, it feels rather like "been there, done that" territory, but we'll see.

The amazing James Ellroy is back with a new L.A. Quartet. I was lucky enough to hear him speak for the second time (the first time was at the 2009 LA Times Festival of Books) on October 30, and he is so amazing. Just enthralling. "Perfidia" was hard core, gritty, and on point. It's set in L.A. in December of 1941. A few hours before Pearl Harbor, a Japanese family is murdered. LAPD wants the case wrapped up and wrapped up quick, they don't care is the real killer is brought to justice, so long as someone is so they can get back to business as usual. Many of his characters from other books make appearances, like Dudley Smith, Kay Lake, Claire DeHaven, and Bucky Bleichert. The ending knocked me out, as his endings always do.

Barry Lyga's third book in the Game trilogy, "Blood of My Blood", was awesome. It's a shame he's classified as YA, because I think a lot of adults tend to shy away from YA books, and this is one that shouldn't be missed. Jazz tracks his escaped serial killer father to New York. Billy Dent kidnaps Jazz's girlfriends, Connie, but she manages to escape, but not after seeing Billy has Jazz's mom Janice held hostage too. Billy goes back to Lobo's Nob, and Jazz follows, determined to save his mom. I sort of figured out the big twist beforehand, but it didn't diminish the impact when it came. Wow. Just a great way to tie up the series.



If you're around my age or a bit older, you probably remember May of 1998, and hearing on the news that Phil Hartman had been murdered by his wife Brynn. I didn't watch Saturday Night Live for long, but I did watch during some of Phil's tenure there, and always enjoyed his sketches. I loved him on the Simpsons, too, as Troy McClure and Lionel Hutz. He was slated to be on Futurama as Zapp Brannigan, and he would have been magnificent. Mike Thomas's tribute to Phil is lovely, talking about what a great guy he was, how everyone loved him. Phil always seemed much younger to me than his actual age, just because of how funny he was and how much he seemed to enjoy life. His murder was a real tragedy.

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